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Coincidence or Providence?

Esther  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:40
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Introduction

As we read this chapter we are going to see things fall into place. Falling into place where it seems almost silly. Like one of those movies where the villain runs into the hero and that's why he gets caught.
When we left off Haman is in a really good mood. He has been invited by the queen to a meal. Just the King and the Queen and Him. What an honor. He is in such a good mood he goes and builds a gallows to Hang Mordecai on

Esther 6:1-14

Esther 6:1–14 LEB
During that night the king’s sleep escaped him, and he gave orders to bring the scroll of records and chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs from the keepers of the threshold who had conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus. And the king asked, “What has been done to bestow honor to Mordecai for this?” And the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” And the king asked, “Who is in the courtyard?” Haman had just come to the courtyard of the king’s outer palace to tell the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king’s servants said to him, “Look! Haman is standing in the courtyard.” And the king said, “Let him come.” And Haman came, and the king said to him, “What is to be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?” And Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” So Haman said to the king, “For a man whom the king wishes to honor, let them bring royal clothing with which the king has clothed himself, and a horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal head-dress has been given. And let the clothing and the horse be given to the man by the officials of the king’s nobles; let them cloth the man whom the king wishes to honor, and let him ride on his horse through the public square of the city, and let them proclaim before him, ‘Thus, it will be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.’ ” Then the king said to Haman, “Quickly, take the clothing and the horse, just as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew who sits at the gate of the king; you must not leave out anything from what you have said.” So Haman took the clothing and the horse, and he clothed Mordecai and let him ride through the public square of the city; and he proclaimed before him, “Thus, it is done to the man whom the king wishes to honor.” Then Mordecai returned to the gate of the king, and Haman rushed to his house mournful and with his head covered. And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends all that had happened to him. And his advisers and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is from the descendants of the Jews, you will not prevail against him, but will certainly fall before him.” As they were still speaking with him the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried to bring Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Sleepless Nights

“That Night,” the very night after Haman had constructed a gallows for Mordecai, the king “just happened” to suffer from insomnia. And what do you do when you can’t sleep. For me I know I read “the book of the records of the chronicles.” literally the “words of the days.”4 This was the Persian equivalent of the Congressional Record—which would surely put anyone to sleep.
The Persians were world-renowned for their administrative care in record keeping, so you can imagine how long those scrolls were.
But somehow, by a fluke, the servant, who could have unrolled it to any point, opens it to the detailed account of the conspiracy against the King and how Mordecai had rescued him, just in time. We read about int in Esther chapter 2 but this event happened some 4 or 5 years prior.
When it had happened the king didn’t feel the need to honor Mordecai. So reading this reminded the king of Esther’s loyalty to him, and brought up the name of Mordecai in a very positive , courageous light, but also brought up something embarrassing.
This was entirely out of character with Persian customs. Ahasuerus’ father and grandfather had rewarded faithful citizens with jewelry and garments. His great-great grandfather Cyrus had even given a loyal general a horse with a solid gold bridle and a dagger, along with a beautiful Persian robe.5 Those loyal recipients were even given a special title in the kingdom—they were the “King’s Benefactors.”6
Stephen Davey, Esther, Wisdom Commentary Series (Apex, NC: Charity House Publishers, 2012), 90.
And Coincidentally, Haman “had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace” (v. 4). The reader notes the irony (and coincidence) of Haman’s presence, since he had intended to persuade the king to hang Mordecai.
Haman had just finished building the gallows and was simply too excited to sleep. So he decided to go to work early in anticipation of his “best day ever.”
He was about to be rid of the one man left in the nation who refused to venerate him, and he also had another dinner reservation with the king and queen.
And the king ask him how should we honor such a person

Honor of Mordecai

Haman, obsessed as usual with his own pride, could not fathom that the king would intend to honor anyone other than Haman himself, so he proposed an elaborate rite.
Royal robe that the king has worn
Horse the king has ridden
Royal head-dress or crest be given
Robing would be done by one of the King’s most noble princes
Lead through the city proclaiming “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”
Esther Inspired Insomnia

It helps to understand that in the ancient Middle East, your garments were considered a part of your being. What you wore actually represented who you were. Consider some examples of this:

• Aaron’s priestly garments were given to his son to wear when he inherited the priestly office (Numbers 20).

• Elisha received Elijah’s mantle/cloak, which represented the designation of prophet (2 Kings 2).

• The army commanders spread their clothes on the stairs for Jehu to walk on, which signified he had authority over their lives (2 Kings 9).

• Luke’s Gospel tells us that when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the people spread out their garments on the road for Him to ride over, symbolically submitting their lives to Jesus (Luke 19).

Expecting to be the recipient of the king’s esteem, Haman devised a ceremony that would promote him before the people as the king’s equal in honor and glory.
Haman was expecting this to be the greatest day of his life.
However the king through a loop in the plan didn’t he?
Do this for Mordecai

Not only would Mordecai escape from Haman’s noose, not only would Mordecai receive public adulation, not only would Mordecai receive what Haman had designed for himself, but Haman would be the one to proclaim Mordecai’s greatness to the city! Dramatically and ironically the tables had begun to turn on Haman, who had no choice but to obey the king’s command. We can only begin to imagine Haman’s revulsion and shame as he paraded his archenemy before the people.

Downfall Predicted

At this time it become obvious even to Haman’s closest friends who were cheering him on when it looked like he was winning.
since Mordecai the Jew had prevailed over Haman in earning the king’s favor, surely Haman’s plot against the Jews was doomed to fail. His downfall was imminent After this prophetic remark was uttered, “the king’s eunuchs” whisked Haman away to Esther’s banquet where his fate would be sealed (v. 14).

God’s Providence

With the unfolding of chapter six, it reads as if coincidences build upon coincidences. To much to say that they are merely coincidence.
The king could not sleep on the night just before Haman intended to hang Mordecai
The king’s servant happened to read about Mordecai’s ction that had saved the king.
When Ahasuerus looked for an adviser, Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace.
Because of his bad timing and foolish pride, Haman ended up proposing an ostentatious ceremony for someone who turned out to be Mordecai.
By his own recommendation Haman became the one to lead his enemy through the city.
Proverbs 11:2 LEB
Pride comes, then disgrace comes, but wisdom is with the humble.
Haman’s excessive pride led him to propose an ostentatious ceremony to honor someone who turned out to be his enemy. His own prideful words led to his shameful exaltation of Mordecai.
Proverbs 14:19 LEB
The evil bow down before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

That Haman should end up praising Mordecai also fits the mind-set of wisdom. Proverbs 14:19 states: “The evil will bow before the good, / And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.” Haman, the archetype of evil in Esther, did indeed bow before the good, represented by Mordecai. In his comments on this proverb, David Hubbard could very well be describing Haman’s exaltation of Mordecai: “The note of public embarrassment that plagues the foolish is heightened in the picture of utter public subjection that will be their lot.”5 Both of the proverbs illustrated in chapter 6 exemplify the theme of reversal—a comprehensive theme common both to wisdom literature and to the Book of Esther.

As the Master Author of human history, God weaves together the stories of our lives. To surprise us with joy and to accomplish His inscrutable will, God fills our lives with apparent flukes that, upon deeper inspection, reflect His sovereign care. Coincidence or providence? Our answer depends upon seeing with the eyes of faith.
Esther The Great Reversal

The edict had been written. It was the Law of the Medes and Persians—which means that it was unchangeable. The nearby gallows was seven stories high. A murderer was in control of the kingdom. A callous dictator was on the throne. Sin reigned while sanity had evidently been exiled.

Psalm 121:4 LEB
Look, he will not slumber and he will not sleep— he who protects Israel.
This is another way of saying God never goes off duty.
So when you have trouble sleeping, He’s awake with you. And when you finally drift off to sleep, He doesn’t.
You don’t have to be in control of situations or circumstances or people, because God already is.
Esther The Great Reversal

John Newton, the author of the famous hymn Amazing Grace, discipled a young man named William Cowper. But this close relationship didn’t keep Cowper from struggling with bouts of suicidal depression.

One evening in 1774, Cowper called for a carriage and ordered the driver to take him three miles away to the Ouse River in England, where he planned to throw himself from a bridge.

The driver, discerning Cowper’s suicidal intention, breathed a prayer of thanks when a thick fog suddenly moved in and enveloped the area. He purposely lost his way in the dense fog, driving up one road and down another, while Cowper fell into a deep sleep.

Several hours passed before the driver returned to Cowper’s house. Cowper woke up and said, “How is it that we’re home?” The driver answered, “We got lost in the fog, sir … I’m sorry about that.” Cowper paid his fare, went inside, and pondered how he had been spared from harming himself by the clear providence of God.

There, that night in the solitude of his home, William wrote what would become one of his most famous hymns for the Church:

God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill,

He treasures up His bright designs

And works His sovereign will.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning Providence

He hides a smiling face.9

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning Providence
He hides a smiling face.

Next Steps

Trust in God’s Providence
Do you have EYES OF FAITH
Humility
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